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Kopf's Story

- by Kopfjagger and Lucia



Last LookEdit

Lucia's unwillingness to kill and her patience to hear him through, and it was frustrating for both of them to say the least, showed how the Alliance was indeed a worthy enemy. If she was anything, it was a beacon for hope for her people and a reason for the Horde to reconsider why and how they fight. Kopfjagger was continually amazed by the strength of the living will. He supposed that he had taken it for granted while he wore the delicate flesh of the living.

Her wrists extended, Kopfjagger again bound her to her staff. He left her feet free in case there was need for flight and he considered blindfolding her. The rag was in his hand while he pondered the option. No human, or other alliance member had ever seen the inside of Undercity and walked out in their flesh. He would have to work on his lying skills. Blindfolding her was not an option. If they had to flee, she would be helpless and blind. No, he thought to himself, better to die facing your foe than being led a lamb to the slaughter. Lucia was many things, but lamb was not one of them, and he would do everything possible to ensure that she was not a part of the slaughter this evening.

Hastily, he stuffed the rag back in his backpack and looked into Lucias eyes. He tried to look as confident as possible and even managed a somewhat convincing wink. She smiled weakly back and he thought that her cheeks gained a little color. Perhaps, he thought. Human blood was an interesting thing. It always seemed to show up where it wasnt wanted.

The Forsaken rogue picked up the loose end of the thin rope that bound her wrists and began an arrogant stride towards the guards. Both of his swords were on his hips and he walked slowly and confidently towards the torchlight. He tried to look as imposing as possible. Puffing out his chest, he made sure that his twins swung menacingly as he strode.

Looking over his shoulder one last time, he saw Lucia, hair still a mess, robes tattered, look back at him. Fear and resolve mixed on her face in a way that showed her strength without hiding her humanity. Impressive.

"You there, guardsmen," he called out once he rounded the corner. The hissing, slurring speak of his kind sounded ominous as it echoed down the dank cavern. "I am on a special mission for the head of the Royal Apothecary Society. I and my captive were never here. Is that understood?" He bellowed through the chamber in a strong, confident and hopefully arrogant voice. His feet kept moving and he gave a gentle tug on the rope when it went taut.

It was the sound of his voice that made Lucia halt. It was not the sympathetic, understanding and compassionate tones that he used while he was trying to teach her his language. It was not the booming, jovial laugh she had heard before. This was the sound of a monster claiming its territory; loud, belligerent and angry. She crushed a shiver that ran down her spine and put her feet back in motion when the tug told her to keep moving. She didnt realize she had stopped. The shiver came back.

Both of the guards jumped at the sudden voice coming from the direction they were supposed to be guarding. The quickly assumed intimidating stances and looked Kopfjagger and Lucia over skeptically as the pair came into the light of the torches.

"That is a tasty little morsel," one replied. His eyes were already glowing yellow, which meant that he was either very cocky, which is what happened to Kopfjagger when he was feeling particularly arrogant, or it meant that he was able to see much better in the darkness that anyone could imagine. So it was with the Forsaken. No two were exactly the same. Just like the humans.

"Yesss, ideeeed. Shhhhe dosssth look yummmy," the other agreed. His lower jaw was a mess and his tongue could be seen hanging from where his jaw should have been. It was a wonder he was able to speak at all. This one had no eyes at all, just black pits in a face that was more like a skull wrapped in leather.

"My orders," Kopfjagger boomed over them, "are to bring her alive to my master: By any means necessary. If you so much as look at my captive wrong, I will remove your spirit from your flesh the most painful way I can imagine. If you touch her, I will not let your spirit release until days after you beg me to kill you." His strong voice was having an effect on the guards. Now it was time to see if he could finish the lie he had started.

He lowered his voice to almost a whisper and poured all of his malice into his words. "And if I find out that anyone knew about my presence here, I'll know who to come find. I will feast upon your friends, I will hunt down and brutalize your family, your pets will be sent to the Trolls for food. Then I will track, find and torture anyone that ever heard your name. Only then I will come for you."

There was a long pause as the guards looked over the Forsaken fingering his swords in front of them. Their eyes took in his twins, his armor and eyes that had become red. Lucia whimpered and shook visibly.

This place was worse then Lucia could have imagined as her downcast eyes took in her surroundings. The thought of her husband trapped in here, if he was indeed still alive, horrified her in a way she couldn't have explained to anyone. She could feel the guards burning eyes on her as she played the role of a weak, meek defeated creature. She didn't have to pretend her fear.

"She must be blinded," said yellow eyes tentatively.

"I will not allow my captive to be harmed in any way before she meets the Apothecary. He wants all of his .... Subjects.... in as perfect physical condition as possible. I do not want even a bruise on her body or an ankle twisted," he rumbled at the guard.

Both guards looked surprised and scared at the same time. Yellow eyes raised his hands as if to say, 'No problems here,' and jawless motioned for them to continue and turned to stare at the wall that was behind him, allowing free passage.

Kopfjagger hid his relief behind a grunt and continued to walk slowly through the cave. He made his pace deliberately slow. He did not want Lucia to trip because he knew that his compassion for her would show instantly. He also did not want the guards to think he was nervous in any way. Confidence was their only chance and so far it seemed to be working.

Past the guard, Kopfjagger went slow enough for her to glance at the place she was being led through. At the end of the twisting cavern, a huge, grisly city suddenly sprang into view. A multi-leveled chamber of horrors is what she saw. That green ooze filled this place, much more then the thin trickle of the tunnel. Corridors branched out every few feet and she was already lost as Kopfjagger turned and twisted his way pulling her along with the thin rope tether.

There was a back route rarely taken to the master brewers chambers and that was the circuitous route they were to take. Before heading into the Apothicarium itself, however, Kopfjagger stopped to take in Lucia for what was probably to be the last time. He was going to miss her and he wanted to remember her face.

This was not how he wanted to remember his bride. She had been so vibrant, so very full of life. Now her sick, bony frame was a mass of blotches and racked with coughing. He held her limp head in his arms and gently rocked her back and forth as her eyes became clouded with pain and her tongue lolled useless out of her mouth. Her cough made him flinch. No, this was not at all how he wanted to remember his bride, but he knew then that this, above every other memory of her, is how he would always see his heart.

She noticed Kopfjagger stop for no real apparent reason and kept her eyes down. When he did not resume his walk, she cautiously looked up at him. Their eyes met and she shivered again. His eyes held hers as if studying. When he finally turned to resume his course, she realized that he had said goodbye to her in his own way. Strange that she should feel such loss now, she thought, when her husband was hopefully within reach. She shook her head to remove the tangled emotions.

((This part of the story was written in partnership by Kopfjagger and Lucia. I have the honor of retelling it but at least half, if not more, of the creative power comes directly from Lucia even though her name does not appear to the left of the post. *bows deeply to Lucia* Thank you, Lucia, for letting me retell our story, I hope to do it justice.))

SorrowEdit

The Apothicarium was around the next corner. He had taken the back way in and now the flight of stairs leading to the landing was finally in sight. If he was right, her.... man.... would be in the cages no more than thirty feet from them. But there were a lot of people in those thirty feet. What was once familiar and comforting was now a den of iniquity and he a trespasser. Familiar faces awaited him, friends once, enemies now and he could not let them know the difference that rested in him and the reason that stood behind him, trembling.

He turned to Lucia and pressed the three small invisibility potions into her hands. He made a *poof* gesture with his hands. Then he handed her the healing potion for her man, if he needed it, and pointed to her head and gave off a relieved sigh as if he felt better. A small smile somehow found its way to his lips. The Forsaken thought he was getting quite good at these little charades.

He gestured that she was to drink the invisibility potion and follow him. He would lead her to the cages and if her man was there they would figure out a way to get him out. If there was anything left to save, that is.

Just before she drank the invisibility potion he caught her hand and flashed his five fingers three times. She only had 15 seconds. Once she understood that it was a short duration potion, he bade her to drink.

When Lucia drank from the vial Kopfjagger gave her, she almost immediately began to feel strange. As if her body was instantly numb and yet feeling was slowly returning. She tingled. She wanted to giggle from the sensation but bit her tongue, thats just what we need, me giggling at a time like this, she said to herself.

He quickly began to walk directly towards the cages, hoping that his long and one-time friends here would not be overly interested in conversation. Lucia walked behind him in a crouch. Her eyes scanned the Forsaken, the hundreds of books in dozens of ancient cases, vials and concoctions on every horizontal surface. Her eyes took it all in. Only the lone Tauren really shocked her. The rest fit into the vision of a nightmare entirely too well.

The stairs were covered quickly. He descended the second flight and walked quickly past his friend and ally, the head Apothecary. Kopfjagger just nodded as he was bade hello and then rounded the corner into the room with the cages. He did not know for certain if Lucia was right next to him, but there were three humans in these cages, and two of them were male.

The room was empty aside from the prisoners, but it was often visited as junior Apothecaries tested their new potions. She may have a few moments, but not much after that. And there she was. Just in time, her potion had worn off and she winked back into view. Pointing at the cages the rogue then turned and rested his hands on his the pommels of his blades. He was looking back the way they had come.

When Kopfjagger pointed at the cages Lucia forced herself to look at the people in the cages. The three heavy iron cages were lined in a row. In the first one was a female, barely breathing with sores covering her face and hands. In the second was a man, she guessed by his shape, huddled against the bars, whimpering and moaning something about flowers. In the third was another man, parts of his flesh was missing and the cold whiteness of bone could be seen. Something had eaten away his skin in strips.

Kopfjagger let his mind contemplate, for the first time, the state of the humans in the cages. The constant testing and tormenting could very easily have driven them mad. Is it better to be dead, or to be alive but insane? It was a question he had thought about often, especially when he was no longer certain of his own sanity. He was unable to die and thus, had no choice but to revel in his insanity. But now he wondered for them. The questions now had new merit, but he did not seek their answers.

Shaking her head, Lucia began to turn towards Kopfjagger. None of these were her husband, neither of the - she stopped.

The man in the second cage had shifted and she could fully see his face. Strong lines, a rough beard had grown and the eyes she remembered. The same eyes, except now they were tormented, hollow, and sightless. She ran to the cage and dropped down to her knees. Hastily she reached through the bars and attempted to grab a hold of him. He pushed back away from her with a mindless whimper. Her husband.

Tears streaked her face as she gripped the lock and attempted to pull it open with her bare hands. She spoke his name over and over. He stared blankly at her, no recognition at all. Her voice broke. Frantically she rattled the lock trying to force it to open. Tiny drops of blood fell to the stone floor as a jagged piece of metal ripped into her hand. She was oblivious to the pain as she focused on her husband. She reached into the cage and grabbed hold of his ragged shirt and pulled him to her. With bleeding hands she cupped his face and whispered her name. Its me baby, its Lucia. Come on honey please, wake up. She shook him gently. No response. She shook him again, frustration and horror beginning to build

He still ranted about flowers. Forgetting where they were she shrieked at him, anger and sorrow combining, Say my name damn you, say my name! She sobbed.

Deep in her throat she began chanting, No, no, no, please no, not like this, no, as she studied what used to be her man. He was clearly mad. No physical damage was visible, unlike the other two, no sores no exposed bone and yet he seemed worse off. His head lolled from side to side, his eyes un-focused. Again she tried to free him. She gripped the bars and pulled. She strained and yet the cold-wrought black iron was unmoved.

Defeated and unable to look at him any longer, Lucia lowered her head and placed it against the cold metal bars. Hope fled from her and rolled down her cheeks, landing unnoticed on the stone slab floor. She had come all this way and he was lost to her. Finding him dead would have been easier then this. Despair washed over her, she knew her husband would never leave this cage.

She stayed there on her knees on the floor, hands above her hanging head still holding the cage bars and wept. Memories of the good days danced mockingly behind her eyes; the picnic on the bank, the long walks in the woods, her first pregnancy and then her second, joyous celebrations with him beaming in pride. She recalled her daughters first day of school when he sat in the tiny desk at the back of the schoolhouse so she wouldnt cry to see him go. And the paper kisses. The last thought before she abandoned them was of him catching her up and swinging her around, declaring his love to all of them as he left. As he left

In the dank bowels of the Undercity one more voice of sorrow and pain was added to the well of the un-heard screams of those before her. And in his cage, her former husband mumbled about flowers.

Looking over his shoulder at Lucia, the Head Hunter saw her spring to one of fthe cages. It was obvious to the rogue that she had found the object of her love.

Her tears and screaming blended in with the wails and blood these cages contain. The rattle of the cage, the plea for mercy, the anguished cries, all echoed into the cacophony of misery that made this city thrive. This is why the Forsaken are hunted as a species. The misery that they bring to those who knew only joy, or at least were ignorant of such sorrow, should be enough to damn them to the last.

Kopfjagger let her sorrow play out. He turned his back to her and her man again under the pretense of watching for intruders. That seemed ironic yet again. He was standing mere yards away from his mentor and a few feet from what should be his enemy yet he was protecting one from the other in a bizarre twist of fate.

Her wails of grief ground into heart wrenching sobs and then drifted into the silent tears of one that has mourned the death of hope. No one had come to the chamber and it looked as if no one else would. It was time to ease her pain as best he could.

The undead rogue walked across the cold, soiled floor to the human woman he had grown to admire over the past few days. She was crumpled against the bars, hands bloodied from her vain war against the iron cage. He could have opened the lock for her, but holding this shell of a human that was once her lover would not help her. It would only make her grief more real. It was plain that it was real enough already.

Gently, he lifted Lucia and slowly led her to the darkest corner of the room, furthest from its sole entry. He sat her down, situating her so that she faced the corner. She should not see what he was about to do, but he had to release the spirit of the human she once called husband.

Once she was seated, lost in her misery and loss, Kopfjagger picked the lock holding Lucia's heart. The man did not move more than his wide eyes. He did not say anything that was intelligible, but there was a pleading in his eyes that Kopfjagger had seen many times. His spirit was pleading for release.

Coiling his strength, Kopfjagger slid a twin from its leather home and built up his adrenaline. In one graceful and fluid movement the man's head was separated from his body and the sword was back in its sheath. If any of the other Forsaken found out about this, his existence as he knew it was over. Yet, he felt better about who he was and that fate, if it came, would be acceptable.

Kopfjagger left the cage, closed and re-locked the prison before making his way back to Lucia. Kneeling beside her he laid his two blades at her feet and made a motion with his hands to signify that her husband's spirit had been released. That man's fight was over. He was free now.

As if from a great distance, Lucia heard the clink of the lock opening, the grate of the iron bars swinging free and the wet sound of a blade in flesh. A part of her knew what that sound meant. The reality of the disconnected sounds hit her when Kopfjagger came back to her and laid a bloody sword by her.

Shivers tormented her. She was simply unable to stop shaking. She gazed at the stained edge of the sword for a long time before she lifted her eyes to him. In one fluid movement, Lucia wrapped her arms around his rotting form, pressed her face into his shoulder bones and wept. She released all the pent up emotions of sorrow, longing and home sickness into him.

When the flood of emotion died out she reluctantly drew away from him. Drained she wanted nothing more then to sleep. Hellish city or no, she just wanted to lay here and close her eyes until her breath stilled and she entered an eternal rest. The sharp image of her children at home, left in the care of the priest banished the thoughts of death. They would need their mother, since their father was now dead.

Still shaking she got to her feet and let Kopfjagger know it was time to leave. She did not want to see the remains of what once was the man that had captured her heart. Yellow eyes met hazel. Sorrow met sorrow.

((This part of the story was written in partnership by Kopfjagger and Lucia. I have the honor of retelling it but at least half, if not more, of the creative power comes directly from Lucia even though her name does not appear to the left of the post. *bows deeply to Lucia* Thank you, Lucia, for letting me retell our story, I hope to do it justice.))




End of Kopf's Story Book 9
[<---Book 8] [Book 10--->]

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